It's a well-known fact that communications networking is rapidly changing and growing, becoming increasingly complex and nuanced in the process. This is because of increased demand for high-quality voice and video services, while converged applications are also experiencing growth. Put this all together, and the result is increased emphasis on IP.
Every day, IP networks are being increasingly installed and used as core networks, where before they were considered "adjunct" networks connected to "core" time division multiplexing (TDM) networks through gateways. However, TDM networks will continue to be a part of global communications for a while and "all-IP" networks will need to connect with these TDM networks.
In order to accomplish this, session border controllers (SBCs) have taken on a new role, providing the functionality at the border between networks to support baseline voice services, while also enabling and supporting IP-based services and applications — including high-definition voice and real-time video communications.
Specifically, an SBC's media control element, the border gateway function (BGF), is capable of functioning as an IP gateway of sorts, connecting IP networks with each other. In other words, it behaves similarly to traditional media gateways that bridge IP and TDM-based networks. This change also allows other applications to leverage the transformation, security and connection capabilities of SBCs, namely value added services, virtual private networks and IP multimedia subsystems.
Traditionally, SBCs were used to secure organizational assets. Today, SBCs provide and array of critical functionality, including security, multimedia connectivity, service assurance and optimization and border management.
The ability of the SBC to multiply its capabilities has become central to IP-to-IP networking, helping service providers to improve performance and successfully handle increasing traffic volume. Once considered only a security device, the SBC has expanded to nurture successful connectivity while simultaneously providing high quality IP service. Indeed SBC's are now crucial for SIP normalization, QoS, NAT traversal, IPv4-IPv6 interworking and much more.
For a more detailed look at session border controllers and their role in IP networks, check out this article at Virtual-Strategy Magazine.
Patton (News - Alert) will be exhibiting at the ITEXPO West 2012. To be held Oct. 2-5 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX, ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo